Grab your popcorn and strip off those shin guards! Today marks the kick-off of one of the most anticipated annual events in field hockey world wide: the FIH Women’s Hockey Champion Trophy.
Who to Watch This Year
The Netherlands are the Olympic champion team, having won both Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Currently standing at number one in the FIH world rankings world rankings, they are expected to reign in the Champion Trophy games this year as well. The roster boasts four FIH Players of the Year in its possession, as well as the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year for 2014 and 2015.
Ranked second is Argentina. They have been going toe to toe against the Netherlands since the first Hockey World Cup Finals in 1974 where they lost 1-0. Team Argentina dominates the Pan-American Cup and the South American Championship Games every year and won the World Cup title in 2010, and they have claimed the Champions Trophy title six times including 2012 and 2014. Needless to say, it’s going to be an interesting fight between these two.
The United States comes in at seventh place according to the FIH world rankings, but considering that this is the first time we have qualified for the Champions Trophy since 1995 when we finished third, that’s pretty commendable. Ever since Team USA qualified for the 2016 Olympics, there has been tremendous enthusiasm surrounding this team. It’s bound to be an exciting year for the Champions Trophy.
Saturday is going to be a nail biter. The United States plays first this year, so catch their game against another longstanding champion, Australia, tomorrow at 7 AM. Following that match will be Argentina against Great Britain at 9 AM, wrapping up with the Netherlands vs. New Zealand at 11 AM.
That’s just the first of the six-day championship! Be sure to follow SISU’s coverage of the rest of the matches leading up to the finals on June 26. For the full schedule, click here.
Ready to become a FIH know-it-all? Here’s how it all began:
Founded in 1924 in response to the exclusion of field hockey from Paris Olympic Games of the same year, the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH) became the first international governing body of seven pre-existing National Federations. Those federations represented both men’s and women’s hockey in Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Spain and Switzerland.
Although the sport itself has its roots in ancient societies like the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Aztec empires, the modern game was formalized in mid-18th century England. The first Hockey Association was created in 1876 in the UK, and is credited with establishing the majority of rules used in the game today. It grew quickly in popularity after that, gaining more traction as a women’s sport in many countries. The International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) formed just after the FIH, in 1927.
Thanks to the efforts of the FIH and the IFWHA, men’s field hockey was included in the Moscow 1928 Olympics, with women’s hockey following in 1980. In 1982, the FIH and the IFWHA joined forces to become what we know as the FIH today, consisting of five continental and 132 national associations.
The Champions Trophy is a prestigious competition organized by the FIH, featuring only six of the most exceptional international teams who earn their place based on past performances at the Champions Trophy and Champion Challenge.